Mobile Commerce

Alibaba Pours Money Into Local Services App Market

Alibaba’s investment efforts have expanded its reach in the local services app market — which involved putting RMB 1 billion ($161 million) into an investment fund.

That fund is aimed at helping independent software developers create smartphone apps that leverage the offerings on Alibaba’s eCommerce ecosystem. This investment follows a major investment from Alibaba Group and Ant Financial Services Group to spend $1 billion to help the local services market in China grow for goods that are both ordered on and paid for via smartphones.

Alibaba Vice President Wang Xiruo remarked at a software developers conference yesterday (July 16) that stand-alone shopping websites don’t have a place in the mobile-commerce-driven Internet. He also said that Alibaba’s investment follows its belief that the eCommerce market will transform into more mobile apps that “tap into niche markets and meet local users’ customized needs and demands.”

“I have seen lots of mobile applications recently, from raising pets to online groceries to seeking babysitters,” noted Alibaba Group CEO Daniel Zhang at the conference “Each app is recreating a scenario and reshaping the value chain. You can hardly adopt a single business standard or service type to define eCommerce today. Diversity is the charm of the mobile Internet, and it means great opportunities.”

During the conference Alibaba also revealed a new program called Shengyi 1.0, which provides those local services app developers with the necessary tools and support to develop the services necessary to enable its eCommerce goals.

“Alibaba wants independent app makers to incorporate a range of Alibaba technologies such as location-based services, targeted marketing and online payment into apps for so-called “on-demand” local services,” a post in Alibaba’s blog reads. “The goal is to make smartphones central to the consumption of everyday services from booking car repairs to buying movie tickets to ordering take-out lunches.”

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